With Fall not far off, and the need to social distance, and a fascination with things that go bump in the night, we give y’all our list of the Most Haunted Penitentiaries and Asylums in the South.
- Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum – Weston, WV- Construction began on the asylum in 1858 but was disrupted for a few years when the grounds were used as a camp for Union soldiers. Originally built to house 250 patients and at one time known as Weston State Hospital, the facility reached its peak in the 1950s with 2,400 patients jammed into overcrowded, poor conditions. It closed in 1994 and offers tours.
- West Virginia Penitentiary – Moundsville – Considered one of the most haunted prisons in the U.S. Built in 1875. Tours available.
- Central State Hospital – Petersburg – Formerly known as the Central Lunatic Asylum, it is still a working facility and has been since 1870. First to allow black people. Well known for being overcrowded, still to this day.
- Dr. White’s Sanitorium-Wichita Falls, Tx- Considered the most haunted place in North Texas
- Yorktown Memorial Hospital- Yorktown, Tx – Founded by the Felician Sisters of the Roman Catholic Church in 1950, the Yorktown Memorial Hospital served as a rehabilitation center for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse.
- Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary – Petros – Known as the “Prison That Ate America’s Sins”. This maximum security prison opened it’s gates to hell in 1896, and has housed some of the worst criminals in the history of the U.S. including James Earl Ray, the man who shot Martin Luther King. It’s history is long and violent and can be read here.
- South Carolina Insane Asylum – Columbia- The most haunted place in South Carolina. Built around 1822. By the 1950s it housed over 5,000 patients.
- Waverly Hills Sanatorium – Louisville – Considered one of the most haunted places on Earth. Waverly Hills Sanatorium is a beautiful example of early 20th century early Tudor Gothic Revival style architecture and a major contributor to the Louisville, Ky community. Built in the early 1900s as a Tuberculosis Hospital, and later a mental hospital and geriatric center. The death count here was so high that patients were delivered for burial and disposal through a tunnel system, deemed the Death Tunnel. This was done to prevent panic among the residents. Waverly Hills was a self-contained community. A city in and of itself, complete with its own zip code
- Kentucky State Penitentiary – Eddyville – Known as the Castle on the Cumberland. Built in 1886. A “super-max” prison, at any given time over 800 inmates can still be found here. A history of torture, bad conditions and more lead to stories of many prisoners who have never left.
- Old Candler Hospital – Savannah – Oldest hospital in Georgia. Home of the 300 year old Candler Oak , better known as “The Hanging Tree” . The Morgue Tunnel housed bodies during many Yellow Fever outbreaks, so as not to disturb the good folks of Savannah. It was also used as a Psychiatric ward with questionable experimental practices.
- Central State Hospital – Milledge – Said to be over 25,000 former patients buried on the 2,0000 acre site. Once the world’s largest mental institution. However, there were no actual psychiatrists working there for many years according to documents.
- The Old Jail – St. Augustine – In 1891, Henry Flagler contracted the company that would eventually build Alcatraz to construct a jail just north of downtown on San Marco Ave. So as not to create an eyesore that would strike fear in the hearts of the general public and to avoid discouraging his fat cat friends from investing in the city, he decided to disguise it.
- Old Bryce Hospital – Northport – Built in 1861 as Alabama’s first home for the criminally insane.
- McRaven House – Vicksburg – Former Confederate hospital is known as Mississippi’s Most Haunted House. Home to 3 well known spirits including Andrew Glass, who built McRaven probably as a hideout. He was a notorious highwayman who rode with the Murrell Gang. He robbed people on the Natchez Trace and built two rooms at McRaven to count his spoils. Oddly the room is not all that different from the way he left it nearly 200 years ago. At least 11 Confederate soldiers have been buried on the site.
- 1836 Missouri State Penitentiary– Jefferson City – Known as the Bloodiest 47 Acres in America, this prison was once the largest prison in the U.S., housing 5,200 inmates at its peak.